National Video Game Day - Electronic Arts

July 8, 2024

On July 8, 2024 the United States celebrates National Video Game Day. To celebrate, FOSI asked its video game member companies about all things online safety and video games. Kerry Hopkins, SVP, Global Affairs at Electronic Arts, had the following advice to share.

What is your #1 piece of online safety advice for parents of young gamers? 

Parents want to be sure that their children have a positive, safe and fun experience when they play video games. An ongoing, open conversation can be a great way to stay informed and establish appropriate online safety rules.  Start by asking your kids what games they want to play and why. Chat about what would make you both most comfortable when it comes to playing online video games. For instance, how much time are you comfortable with your kids playing video games and at what time of day? Are you happy for them to speak to friends online? What about friends of friends? Do you want them to be able to spend money online? Once you have talked this through and agreed on boundaries, the parental controls available across most game devices can be a useful way to implement those rules.  Having regular conversations and showing interest in an activity your child enjoys will make it easier to reinforce the rules you set and make them more comfortable coming to you if they are having trouble with something or somebody online.  And as your kids get older and their game tastes, friends or priorities change, you can revisit and adjust.

As a video game company, how do you strive to prioritize online safety?

At EA, we are committed to building experiences where everyone can be welcome, safe and included. 

We believe that positive play begins through inclusive design: by creating games, stories, worlds and characters that authentically represent the diversity of our players, we hope to set a tone of inclusion for our communities and minimize harmful behaviors. 

However, the reality is that with large, global online communities, we must also embed online safety into how we make and deliver our online game experiences. We take a multi-pronged approach. 

  • We empower our players to be part of building a safe and inclusive community by providing clear policies that set out the expectations for their behavior and what they can expect from us.  
  • We also provide players and parents with tools and settings to make informed choices about how they or their children engage with other players or player created content. 
  • Technology is a critical piece of online safety, and we invest internally in teams and resources to build and implement tools and systems to prevent and filter inappropriate content. 
  • We provide easy-to-use, accessible tools for our players to report inappropriate behavior and we reliably take appropriate action against any reported disruptive behavior or inappropriate content.

What advice do you have for wary parents whose kids would like to get into gaming? 

Even if you’re not a gamer yourself, take the time to understand what your kids are playing and why it’s bringing them joy. You could do this by watching your child play and asking them to explain what they’re doing, or picking up the controller yourself! 

And remember, games might seem like they're purely fun, but they’re so much more. They have the ability to transport children into different and imaginative worlds, with a wide variety of storylines, themes and creations. They’re also proven to teach your child skills that will transfer over into other areas of their lives, such as communication, creativity, teamwork, and problem-solving. They can also help build lifelong friendships and help kids explore their sense of identity or release stress. 

The future of tech looks a bit different than the world we are in now. As AI and genAI become more common in video games and elsewhere, how should parents and kids navigate these changes? Is there anything potentially unsafe they should look out for? 

For us, AI represents an opportunity. We believe that AI-powered tools can help us meet our goal of ensuring all players have welcome, safe, and inclusive experiences.  Whether it’s adding automation to our human moderation capabilities, understanding community sentiment, bringing our communities together, improving matchmaking, or using machine learning methods to detect cheaters within our games, we aim to use AI to improve our player-to-player experiences. But we also recognize that any technology can be used for less savory purposes and we will continue to be sure our online safety programs consider potential risks from AI. 

And finally, just for fun, what’s your favorite video game, and why?

This is a great question!  I typically play word, puzzle, or match games on a mobile device. I find them both engaging and relaxing and I can pick up and play for a few minutes whenever I have a few free minutes.  At the moment, I’m most enjoying the Spelling Bee game from the New York Times. It challenges me every day.  But I also still play a few rounds of Candy Crush most evenings.

Written by

Kerry Hopkins

Kerry Hopkins is Senior Vice President, Global Affairs with Electronic Arts Inc. (“EA”), one of the world’s leading interactive entertainment software companies known for video game franchises including The Sims, EA SPORTS Madden NFL and Battlefield.  Kerry joined EA in 2006 and currently leads the teams responsible for EA’s global intellectual property, litigation, public policy and trust & safety programs. She is a member of EA’s Global Affairs Leadership Team.

Kerry began her career in the video game industry in 1994 with Sony Computer Entertainment America working on the launches of the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 game consoles.  She was also an IP litigator with Reed Smith LLC for several years.   Kerry earned her undergraduate degree from New York University and holds a juris doctor, summa cum laude, from the University of San Francisco.  Kerry sits on the board of San Francisco’s Muttville Senior Dog Rescue and spends her free time spoiling Jackson, a Husky-Mini-Poodle mix rescue.